Back on track and on the wrong track en route to Ghent

Now that I’m back on track with scribbling and creating, the term “ back on track” unleashed a flood off flashbacks – from boarding the wrong train on my way from Brussels to Amsterdam (which requires an entire blog post all of its own!) – to mistakenly disembarking in the wrong town on my way from Antwerp to Ghent.  Like, WHO does that?  Apparently, moi - so-called seasoned traveller and all.  Yikes!!

It’s not like I was some clued-out tourist who hadn’t dared venture past the confines of her back yard out on a middle-aged lark around the globe nor a wide-eyed teenage back-packer out to conquer the world for the very first time.  Heck, no!  I had well over 35 years of schlepping and traipsing under my belt and was more than well versed in train schedules and lingo pertaining to overseas journeying and then some.  Or, so I thought.

So, it baffles me beyond belief as to how I ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, stranded in the outskirts of a Belgian hamlet, miles away from my scheduled stop?  It’s not like I couldn’t read or distinguish clearly labelled signage indicating upcoming stations but when the conductor unexpectedly yelled “Gent-Dampoort”, all that resonated was “Quick!!  Get off train immediately! Jump now or you’ll miss your stop!” 

Marvelling at the seamless efficiency of European trains, I was ecstatic at having arrived at our desired destination a whopping 10 to 15 minutes earlier than originally scheduled, leaving plenty of time in which to wander and meander.  My high pitched screech no doubt jolting not only my snoring companion awake but likely the entire car of slumbering passengers, perplexed as to what the brouhaha was all about. 

Gams flailing, parcels tumbling and luggage cascading, I scrambled to exit said carriage, my pink sneakers tripping their way down the aisle on a marathon sprint to freedom.  With nary seconds to spare, I jumped, or should I say, stumbled, in a free-fall dive of quite the un-elegant and messy sidewalk sprawl of the yicky yucky splatter kind.  Ouch.  Double ouch!!

And with a whoosh, the caboose sped on by, en route to the next scheduled stop, Gent -St. Pieters, which, in retrospect was where we should have exited the train had one of us been bright enough to actually pay attention to where we were going.  Oblivious to our gaffe, Travel Bud and I had more pressing concerns at hand, such as orienting our proximity to the hotel and negotiating on whether or not we hoof, bus or cab it.  Being the frugal one of the bunch, I rationalized that it would be a shame to squander hard earned Euros on transit when one could just as easily walk to our destination – the clinking of coins jangling in my pocket that much closer to nirvana as I visualized the sales clerk reluctantly handing over an orange carrier bag containing the mother of all acquisitions - my long coveted for Birkin - with change to boot!  A hallelujah moment like none other!

Like, how far could our accomodations possibly be?  After all, Ghent was not the hugest of towns, with the brochure assuring that the hotel was just a hop, skip and a jump away.

That is, IF you’re in Gent-St. Pieters!

And.  WHERE were we?   The journey continues…

Come traipse, schlepp and lug with the best of us, as we meander around the globe in search of trains, planes, hotels, deals, steals and tabloid magazine worthy selfies and a whole lot more. 

Next post – In three weeks!! – Wed, Oct 7th!!  Catch up with the adventures of Nora Miss Pink Sneakers in Belgium and the Netherlands.  Stay tuned!!

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